UK Release Date: 22nd March 2013
Runtime: 98 minutes
Director: Kirk DeMicco, Chris Sanders
Writer: Kirk DeMicco, Chris Sanders
Starring: Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds
Synopsis: A prehistoric family find their lives are changed forever when they meet a more advanced human who tells them their cosy little world is coming to an end.
Animated cinema is in very good health at the moment, with the 3D boom proving a handy box office bonus for the school holiday crowd. Unfortunately, The Croods is a bit of a misstep for DreamWorks, albeit a fairly enjoyable one.
The titular family are a brood of primitive Neanderthals led by Grug (Nicolas Cage) who are devout cave-dwellers. However, when rebellious daughter Eep (Emma Stone) leaves in the night and meets the intelligent Guy (Ryan Reynolds), the family find that they need to move with the times if they want to survive.
If there’s one thing that The Croods absolutely nails, it’s the visuals. Rarely is animation as rich and interesting as this, with the whole world of the family full of colour and detail. Unfortunately, this detail and beauty is never applied to the characterisation.
Every character is drawn so sketchily that it’s impossible to identify with them, although the pulse-pounding finale does provide emotional heft completely out of nowhere. The entire script in fact is limp, leaving whole sections of The Croods entirely inert and devoid of any real laughs. In a kid’s movie, this simply doesn’t work.
Phone-in performances from the voice cast are a huge problem for The Croods. Nicolas Cage mostly just walks his way through the lines and occasionally goes into inexplicable phases of his trademark craziness. Only the wonderful Emma Stone actually comes close to rescuing the performances.
DreamWorks seems intent on turning The Croods into one of its big tentpole franchises and, considering the box office numbers, that looks like a wise choice. Next time though, I’d like something that’ll go down in (pre) history.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.